TERRE HAUTE —
Most moms don’t base their advice on scientific research.
(Unless, of course, your mother is a scientific researcher. If so, carry a No. 2 pencil and take good notes.)
Instead, their words of wisdom come from a greater source — the heart, where they store and process life experiences.
Unfortunately, some folks don’t receive the gift of maternal guidance, for various reasons. Even then, a female authority figure — a grandmother, older sister, aunt, foster mom, teacher or church member — occasionally steps in at the right moment and offers a memorable comment to a kid who needs it.
Motherly advice can carry staying power.
My mom hasn’t had to wake me up since I was a senior in high school. (She can sleep in these days, if she chooses.) My wife handles that routine now. Still, on many mornings, while we’re still waking up, I find myself repeating a phrase Mom said in those early hours of almost every day of my childhood and youth …
“Rise and shine, and face the world with a smile,” she’d say, almost singing it.
Back then, I probably thought that sentence meant: get up, don’t grumble, get dressed, eat your breakfast, brush your teeth, go to school, be happy. And, simply tackling that checklist is indeed an accomplishment for an 8-year-old, or an 18-year-old. A few decades later, though, Mom’s vocal reveille challenges me to go beyond a clean-shaven grin.
It’s not just a matter of smiling. Many of us can mentally go to our “happy place” and end up chuckling alone, and that’s not a bad thing. As Andy Rooney once said, “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” True inner joy. What a blessing.
Mom’s motto asks us to go one step further, to share that smile. “Face the world” with it.
The world isn’t always easy to face with any expression. On our darkest days, it’s tempting to see Earth and its other 7 billion human occupants as more worthy of a frown or a blank stare from us. Life brings hard knocks — the loss of a loved one, a job layoff, a broken home, addictions, flaring tempers at the Little League park, a bully at school, foreclosure, a fender-bender, a busted furnace.
My mom, who raised five kids with my dad and watched her own mother raise seven children as a single widow during the Depression, understood the “life-isn’t-always-fair” reality, but also that wonderful moments happen, too. Her own joyful, early morning smiles showed me the best way to face the ups and downs.
It wasn’t just a hunch, either. Mom’s “rise and shine, and face the world with a smile” admonition has a historic and, yes, scientific basis.
Its opening words are biblical, appearing in the Book of Isaiah, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Centuries later, British Army officers began a tradition of rousing the troops, hollering, “Wakey, wakey, rise and shine.” (Thankfully, Mom omitted the “wakey, wakey” part.)
The latter portion of the motto, “face the world with a smile,” holds proven, positive effectiveness. People who smiled after taking on a stressful task showed a greater decrease in heart rate than folks who kept a blank face in a 2012 study conducted by researchers at the University of California-Irvine, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some folks wear a “Duchenne” smile (named for a 19th-century neurologist), full and genuine, triggering major eye muscles as well as those around the mouth. Others sport a “Pan Am” smile (such as those exhibited in obligatory and polite fashion by airline stewardesses) involving just mouth muscles.
A smile, deep or superficial, also can predict satisfaction in life and longevity, the same report states.
That’s the conclusion reached by different researchers, led by psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein, who oversees the school’s Touch and Emotion Lab, at DePauw University in Greencastle. They interviewed 650 adults and collected school-age photos from each person. Those who wore the brightest smiles in those pictures were three times more likely to have a strong marriage than those who frowned, the DePauw team discovered through those interviews. Their results created a chicken-or-the-egg question — which comes first, the smile or the happiness?
“Maybe smiling represents a positive disposition towards life,” Hertenstein said in a 2009 DePauw news release, quoting an MSNBC story. “Or maybe smiling people attract other happier people, and the combination may lead to a greater likelihood of a long-lasting marriage. We don’t really know for sure.”
With that element of mystery in mind, resist the urge to go back through childhood scrapbooks or high school yearbooks to assess your facial expressions or draw a grin onto a photo. Instead, the best we can do is create a brighter picture the next morning, if we rise and shine, and face the world with a smile. Then, for those who can, give your mom a call and thank her for that opportunity.
Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
Most moms don’t base their advice on scientific research.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Congress now free from the threat of too much work
The headline on the Congress-watching newspaper Politico said it all: “Done.”
RONN MOTT: A friend celebrates his 90th
I went to Charlie Fox’s 90th birthday party Sunday last. He was standing greeting people as they came in the door. I never saw him sit down even one time. He looked more like a man celebrating his 60th rather than his 90th.
Editorial: Bring on the ‘Miracle’
For five miraculous years, Terre Haute’s Christmas festival on a Friday night in early December has grown and prospered.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 6, 2013
RONN MOTT: Cigars
Leaving Baesler’s Market the other day, making my round of errands, I started to re-light my cigar. It was left over from the day before and I did not place it in the humidor. It had gotten too dry, so I threw it into my garbage sack asking myself the question, “Why do I do this?” Well, I do it because I enjoy it.
TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Changing attitudes demand GOP action
From all indications, the Republican Party’s legislative leadership will punt away in its next session the opportunity to make a good decision on behalf of all Hoosiers about placing a same-sex marriage ban in the state’s constitution.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 5, 2013
• Anarchy is in the ‘tea’ leaves
Editorial: Help us spread holiday cheer
The kind and generous people of the Wabash Valley are called upon often to help those less fortunate. We are proud to live an area where that call never goes unanswered.
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 4, 2013
RONN MOTT: Cats, Inc.
I suppose we should give her a cake and a candle, but she would be happier with a handful of “treats” you can find wherever you shop for groceries. I’m talking about the two-year anniversary of the first cat we adopted. If we had known there were going to be more, her name probably would have been different. She was Orange Crush, a small, bedraggled, starving, Golden Tabby female that wandered into our yard a little after Thanksgiving. She had been badly maltreated.
MS. TAKES: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of. Our friend, Bill, stopped by our table to offer holiday felicitations and the conversation turned, as it often does this time of year, to Christmas.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 3, 2013
• Prestige chosen over practicality
• Tea partiers love country, freedom
• Same old clowns
LIZ CIANCONE: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 3, 2013
Prestige chosen over practicality
Tea partiers love country, freedom
Same old clowns
EDITORIAL: For NESC, transparency best option
The five-member board of the Northeast School Corp. of Sullivan County is in the midst of tough times as it faces a difficult decision on the future of its schools, including Union High School in Dugger.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 2, 2013
‘Ask not …’: Living by the words we speak
MARK BENNETT: ABA’s record proves Bobby Leonard’s a legit Hall of Famer
Bobby Leonard symbolized the feisty competitive flair of the old ABA.
EDITORIAL: Preserving, improving our parks
Few amenities more greatly affect the quality of life in Terre Haute than its public parks.
FLASHPOINT: Getting right with history
I am ornery enough to never much worry about whether I am on the “right” side of history.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 1, 2013
The dangers of aggressive driving
Thanks to Lowe’s for great work
Another ‘Miracle’ set for Friday
Obama lies with malicious intent
Down the path to nowhere
Remembering to help needy
Jihadis, be careful what you wish for
Hanging on to people’s rights
No more trespassers thanks to mayor
RONN MOTT: Collett Park Christmas Walk always a special event
Since I live right across the street from Collett Park, I enjoy very much this particular neighborhood. And since I have walked around it a few times, I’m familiar with the 0.8 of a mile it takes to walk around the park. The Christmas Walk is a walk around the neighborhood. There were approximately 15 homes involved and open to the public this year
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
An expansion of county parks
A teacher, visionary and leader
Reader poll results
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 29, 2013
Cooperation helps enhance security
RONN MOTT: Rule Changes
Watching the beginning of a new basketball season reminds me of my attempt to play basketball in high school. On the B-team, at a township high school my freshman and sophomore years, I fouled out of a great many basketball games.
EDITORIAL: To be solemn, reverent and grateful
Its label is “Thanksgiving.” As Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed this national holiday in 1863, this 24-hour period celebrates our blessings, to be “solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 28, 2013
Governor can put words into action
Editorial: Newspapers’ greatest day
Those who are limited in their news intake or gain most of their information from broadcast or Internet sources may be under the false impression that newspapers are a dying institution. They may believe that readers and advertisers have abandoned the traditional newspaper, be it print or digital, in favor of some other sort of news flow that relies on shallow streams of broadcast fluff or, even worse, social media.More astute observers of media trends and those who are discerning about the information they consume are quite aware that this newspaper doomsday scenario just ain’t so.
- Readers’ Forum: Nov. 27, 2013
RONN MOTT: A Hornet’s Nest
I seem to have kicked over a hornet’s nest in my criticism of the American health care system.
The basic fact of the matter is this: We do not have, in America, the highest-rated health care system. We are not in the top 10, nor top 20, but somewhere in the middle 30s. Yet we pay more for our health care than any other nation in the world.
LIZ CIANCONE: Mourning a death is a personal exercise
One does not properly “celebrate” an assassination, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are a lot of nuts out there. Coverage this past week of the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination still has the power to disturb, but all the theories won’t undo the facts.
- More Opinion Headlines
- GUEST EDITORIAL: Congress now free from the threat of too much work